Polling stations for European, regional and local elections opened at 7 o’ clock Sunday for the 9,922,294 registered voters. 528,000 Greeks will vote for the first time. Among them are , 106,760 17-year-olds who will vote following a recent law amendment that lowered the voting age.
39,063 polling stations have been set up across Greece.
For Greece’s 21 seats in the European Parliament, voters are asked to choose among 40 political parties and coalitions of parties. 14 of them have a full list of 42 candidates, for a total of 1,155 candidates.
Far-rights participate in the European elections with three different parties: LAOS, Greek Solution, Golden Dawn
Greeks are also called upon to vote for 13 regional governors and 704 regional councillors, 332 mayors and 9,470 municipal councillors and 21,396 community councillors.
According to media reports, there are 1,000 candidates in each prefecture.
Due to the multiple ballots boxes, voters have to stand queue for half an hour in the average, with the voting procedure to take at least 15 minutes to be concluded.
There have been minor problems as supervising members did not appear in the polling stations, ballot papers of some parties were missing and people with disabilities could not reach the polling stations due to school stairs.
On Saturday, where Greeks living abroad were called to vote, there were reports that ballots of several parties, incl. left-wing LAE were missing. the Interior Ministry blamed the parties for not having sent the ballots in time. However, the ministry allowed voters to fill the name of the party of their preference on blank paper sheets!
Greeks are in majority to vote blindly for the EU elections, as the European problems remained outside the public debate, covered by internal issues and the duel between Tsipras and Mitsotakis.
The results for the European elections are crucial for the future of ruling party SYRIZA which public opinion polls show it will lose towards main opposition party, conservative New Democracy.
According to scenarios, should ND win with a difference of more than 7% it is considered as certain that leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will immediately urge prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resign and call for snap elections, most probably in June.
Should the margin be below 5%, Tsipras is expected to complete his term and go to elections in October, as he has planned.
However, pollsters were proving wrong in past elections, incl the Referendum in June 2015.
Polling stations closed at 7 o’ clock in the afternoon, right after the exit polls will be announced.
First secured results are expected around 9:00 – 9:30 in the evening.